As the founder of LifeSmart Education, I’d like to take this opportunity to tell you about why I started LifeSmart Education and why it is so important for youth and adults today. I grew up in Columbus and lived a life very much like the children and adults we’re seeking to help. My parents were overworked and had to focus mainly on the day-to-day struggles of life, paying the bills, and making sure my sister and I had the basics of life. Consequently, I fell behind in school, struggled to get good grades and was often placed in less advanced classes. There wasn’t enough time in the day to pay attention to schoolwork, let alone worry about my future outside of the daily grind of life. This is typically common for most families today. They are overworked and lack the resources to be able to do more for their children. I had no real goals for my future. However, I had a passion for acting.
I wasn’t aware of the opportunities that lay before me when I dreamed to be an actress and move away to California to pursue a career in the arts. I was fortunate enough to work professionally in theatre, film and television. This dream to expand my horizons set the tone for the rest of my life. Through marriage, my world was broadened further. I moved to Germany, taught English and started an English language program called “City Kids”. Many years later, I did the same thing again and went halfway around the world and moved to China. There, I taught English, worked in television and produced a small documentary film about education in China. If you had asked a young me if any of this was in my future I would have answered with a resounding “No”.
Far too many youth and their parents fail to realize their potential for this simple reason….they don’t know what the world has to offer them. Although school life failed to challenge me to move up in school, my experiences in life proved to be the best teacher of all. I now have a Masters Degree; I speak semi-fluent German and am on my way to learning Chinese. It was my life experiences in the world that helped me to see who I could become. This is why I founded LifeSmart Education. I want to show the students of LifeSmart Education their potential in a truly global society.
LifeSmart Education has set forth as its mission to provide educational opportunities that are not just different but transformative. We strive to empower both young people and adults to realize their true potential, their roles as citizens of the world, and the limitless possibilities that lay before them while fostering an appreciation for cultural similarities and differences among us all.
Through our initiatives such as the LifeBridge Mentoring Program and the ARISE Life Management Skills Program, we teach important life skills such as, character and career building skills, money management, communication skills, problem solving and prevention courses. We use this opportunity to connect global learning opportunities with life skills - because connecting local learning with global learning is important for the 21st century student and worker.
These are the individuals who will be able to bridge cultural divides and facilitate dialogues between us as Americans and those from other parts of the world. Our young people and adults will have the opportunity to gain a truly global understanding of their place in the world and know how to chart their path of life by learning valuable life skills and being more globally minded. LifeSmart Education teaches the relation of life skills and global education in many ways, for example:
Financial Literacy – World Economy
Anger Management – World Conflict
Communication - Cultural Awareness
Girls Initiative – Female Inequality around the world
Only by learning about other cultures, countries and other ways of living will we, as Americans be able to better our understanding and various perspectives that frame our world and the people who inhabit it. Today’s student must learn to understand what it is like to live in a multicultural society and develop a sense of global citizenship. LifeSmart Education wants to be the leader in educating students towards pathways of global learning and understanding. Globalization is a fact. Every major problem we face in this world from economic growth to the environment to public health to reducing poverty and inequality to improving our own safety in our communities to homeland security, we need to be prepared to deal with the world as we learn about ourselves.
Business is changing, our world is changing, let’s help prepare our students for a 21st century education.
~Patricia Demetriou, MLS